By Mike Coleman
Taking a Da Vinci Code-based tour in Rome, hob-nobbing with the stars in Cannes or hearing the roar of Monaco’s famed Grand Prix are just a few of the heady perks awaiting cruise passengers in the Mediterranean this summer.
Capitalizing on the fame of bestselling author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons), look for luxury operator Crystal Cruises to offer a new shore excursion in Rome that will feature enough religious and scientific intrigue to fill one’s own novel.
Tours will showcase the four “Path of Illumination” symbols: Earth – at the Chigi Chapel where “Habakkuk and the Angel” point the way down the Path of Illumination; Air – the “West Wind Medallion” in St. Peter’s Square; Fire – the “Ecstasy of St. Teresa” at the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria; and Water – the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi,” or Fountain of the Four Rivers, in Rome’s famed Piazza Navona.Â
The key symbols and landmarks in Angels & Demons will also be featured as the tour visits the Spanish Steps and the Church of St. Ignatius; the Pantheon, Rome’s best-preserved ancient temple devoted to the goddess of the earth; St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest shrine on earth; and, the many Egyptian obelisks prominently displayed throughout the city and featured in the book.Â
Crystal will also welcome author BÃƒÂ¼lent Atalay aboard two Mediterranean cruises (July 19 and 26) to discuss his book Math and the Mona Lisa. A mathematician and scientist, Atalay’s lectures examine the unity of art and science in Da Vinci’s works, including two of his most famous paintings: “The Last Supper” and the “Mona Lisa.”Â
Crystal operates the 1,080-guest, 68,000-ton Crystal Serenity and the 940-guest, 50,000-ton Crystal Symphony.Â
Meanwhile, glamorous Cannes, France and the Monaco Grand Prix can be enjoyed over the course of a 14-day Windstar Cruises voyage aboard Wind Surf, an elegant, 308-guest motor sailing yacht.Â
If that’s not enticing enough, look for guests to enjoy an overnight in Cannes during its famed film festival and two nights in Monaco during the Formula One Grand Prix race. Other port calls include St. Tropez, France; St. Florent, Corsica; Ponza, Amalfi, Sorrento, Portovenere and Portofino, Italy.Â
Coinciding with the festival, a gala dinner is planned at The Hotel Majestic while in Monte Carlo, another private dinner will be held on the eve of the Grand Prix at the Monaco Private Car Collection Museum of the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier III.Â
Guests will enjoy both the Grand Prix time trials and the race itself in reserved seating, located track-side.
Could it get any better?Â
In St. Tropez, look for a cocktail party at the Bylos Hotel, featuring a one-hour open bar with champagne and hot and cold canapes on the Terrace de l’Olivier. Guests will also be treated to an exclusive onboard wine tasting event hosted by Woodhouse Family Cellars, a boutique Washington State winery. The roundtrip voyage departs Nice, France, May 21.